As many of you will have noticed, my activity in the LSPDFR scene has decreased significantly over the past few months. There are many reasons for this, the details of which I won't bore you with. It mostly comes down to being busy with other things in my life, as well as LSPDFR becoming less interesting for me having played it for so long and the introduction of frameworks allowing modded GTA5 multiplayer environments (read: FiveM).
How times have changed since when I joined the community in 2015, from me taking an interest in learning to code in C# to having multiple plugins released on the site. It's been one heck of a journey here. I recall well the first 'mod' I uploaded for the LSPDFR community, which was called 'More Jail Points' at the time. This was first published for RAGEPluginHook 0.20. This later evolved into 'More Jail Points & Prisoner Transporter' and is now known as the all-so-familiar Arrest Manager. When I was contacted by @dbock1989, who was so enthusiastic about my More Jail Points & Prisoner Transporter plugin at the time, I couldn't quite believe it. He had been so kind as to create a variety of images related to the plugin (see below)! It frankly couldn't have been a more exciting moment at the time and, alongside other overwhelmingly positive and welcoming feedback, served as a major motivation factor for me to continue learning to code and create plugins.
Following this, I was looking to give more purpose to the LSPDFR traffic stop system. And so, Traffic Policer was born - a plugin originally intended to add a few ambient events related to traffic offences. This has now grown into one of my most feature-packed plugins to date. By this time, some YouTubers started using my plugins in their videos. Not only was this a great way for me to obtain feedback on my mods' user experience, I also watched @Zachary Houseknecht with great pleasure while my ANPR Hit AI lit many of his police vehicles on fire... An absolute howler: https://youtu.be/4D8HshZzWMQ?t=606
Some weeks on and Assorted Callouts was next in line. This was originally created out of a callout idea by @CaptainSugarFree and turned into what is now known as the Pacific Bank Heist. This took about 4 weeks of intensive development to fully complete (and am I shocked at the code quality looking back at it now... works though). As the first of its kind, the callout featured voice-overs and an intense, detailed SWAT based LSPDFR callout. I was incredibly proud for this to be featured on @Jeff Favignano's channel and I see now that the video in question has amassed over 1.9 million views... breathtaking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIXKvUyzylA
Moving on again. At this point, @FinKone had managed to get me into YouTube. After having released British Policing Script, longing for an LSPDFR experience closer to home for me, many longed a version of the plugin for international and American users to incorporate the traffic stop improvements and a court system. With that, I released LSPDFR+ by doing my first ever YouTube live stream, which was quite the experience. After this, I released Siren Mastery, PoliceSmartRadio and a variety of other tools and smaller plugins. Many hours of coding, effort, stress, giving support and obtaining feedback had been put in by this point. I was absolutely chuffed to then achieve one million downloads on my published files...
This figure has since risen to over five million.
Following some negative coverage of LSPDFR in some of the Australian media, I'm also very happy that Wired UK decided to publish an overwhelmingly positive article on the whole GTA5 police modding scene: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/gta-5-mods-lsdpfr-british-police?utm_content=buffer9ca53
After PoliceSmartRadio's release - with the infamous April FoolsRadio download giving four thousand people a perhaps frustratingly good laugh - I placed the whole modding scene lower in my priority list. As mentioned previously, this has since been pushed far further down.
Some thoughts on the community's development over time
I would describe the LSPDFR community as healthy. @Sam @LMS and all the other contributors have created something very special for all the right reasons and this is largely reflected in the attitudes of the staff & moderation team and community members. With publishing mods on a popular website like this, unfortunately, comes some drama and negativity - and while I have not always agreed with the way and speed the moderation team dealt with my reports relating to me and my work, they have done a good job overall. The few issues that I experienced were all resolved. From my experience in the plugin side of the modding scene, this continues to be the case now.
One thing I noted during the months that passed is that both experienced but particularly newer modders are now frequently treated with disdain in the scene. The modding scene has grown massively since when I first started and unfortunately, in this area, it shows. Everyone starts somewhere and the fact someone is spending their free time creating something for all of you to download, for free, has become massively underappreciated and taken for granted. Sure, a new modders' release may be full of bugs and be nowhere near as feature-rich as more developed plugins, but this takes time to solve. Had I received the negative feedback I've seen on many a new modder's release page back in 2015, you can rest assured I wouldn't have continued my development here. When providing feedback, by all means, point out the issues, but do so in a friendly, constructive manner, not in an entitled, toxic one. Have a look at the first few comments on my Arrest Manager download page to see what that is like - this was a major factor for me to consider continuing development! It is essential for the development of the LSPDFR modding community that this attitude is changed back to what it was in the 'good old days'.
With all that said, I also hope the release of LSPDFR 0.4 kicks a breath of fresh air into the now somewhat stale core LSPDFR modification. With over 2 years having passed since the latest update of the core modification, I'm sure we all agree that an update would be a very welcome step. From the various preview posts released by the development team, it looks that we all have something great to look forward to there.
'Retirement'? So does that mean you're permanently done with the LSPDFR modding scene?
No, but I won't be actively developing plugins for LSPDFR any more. To be fair, nothing's really changing much now compared to the past few months. I intend to remain as a member of the LSPDFR Testing Team and I'm sure I'll be drawn back in at some point to explore some of the new development options in the 0.4 API. I'll also stay around on my discord and occasionally the forums and I intend to continue publishing occasional videos on my Youtube channel. And yes, for those that know and enjoy it, I'm also planning to continue writing blog posts on UK road safety . If my time and motivation levels allow, I may publish some minor updates to my current mods before 0.4 is released. The fact remains, however, that I would currently classify myself as 'inactive' in the scene. With so much other stuff going on, I simply don't have the time to commit that I used to. It would be a pity to say the least to let all my work slowly deteriorate and waste away. Therefore, I've decided to publish the source code to some of my plugins to https://github.com/Albo1125/. At the very least, I would like it to be a learning resource for other ambitious plugin developers in the scene. At best, I hope other developers will take it upon themselves to improve the code where necessary (yes it is very necessary!) and create pull requests to share those improvements. These can then be merged and released, with credits obviously included for contributors.
Back when I started developing for LSPDFR, very few learning resources were available bar the great example project by @LukeD . This hasn't really changed since, despite the creation of the LSPDFR API repository by LMS (https://github.com/LMSDev/LSPDFR-API) and some posts aiming to document the LSPDFR functions by myself in the API development subforum. A noteable step was the creation of the LSPDFR Developers Discord server thanks to @Stealth22 A full post with current development resources can be found here:
I'm planning to publish the source code to a number of my plugins one-by-one to improve this and give something to the community:
Arrest Manager: https://github.com/Albo1125/Arrest-Manager
Assorted Callouts: https://github.com/Albo1125/Assorted-Callouts
Traffic Policer: https://github.com/Albo1125/Traffic-Policer
British Policing Script: https://github.com/Albo1125/British-Policing-Script
By no means do I claim that any of the code I post is perfect or amazing - on the contrary, far from it. With the experience I have now from studying a BSc in Computer Science, reading through some of my old code makes me want to tear my hair out. This is only to be expected, though - most of my plugins were created as part of my learning experience of C#. Prior to this, I had no coding experience or knowledge. It's fascinating to see how the quality of my code has evolved over time by looking at my various different plugins in order of initial release date.
Wrapping up. I hope this post provides some clarification and closure for those of you wondering where on earth I've been over the past few months. It's been an absolute blast and a pleasure. To all of you who were a part of my journey here, thank you.
With all the talk about LSPDFR 0.4, it's been a little while since we've provided a general update on our community. Of course, LSPDFR 0.4 is our main priority at the moment and we'll have more to say about it shortly, but we thought it important to also address and announce a couple of things regarding our community.
What our Community stands for
Before anything else, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on who we are, as people that run this website, and as a community.
LCPDFR was founded, back in 2009, simply because I thought it'd be a fun thing to do. To play as the police in GTA IV. It was an idea, ambitious for its time, and nothing more. I worked on LCPDFR because it was fun, I published it because I thought others might also enjoy it. LCPDFR has come a long way since then, it has evolved from one person's topic on a forum, to its own website, to its own forum, to its own community. We've spanned two games, our reach has grown massively, our community is approaching 300,000 registered members. The amount of work that goes into developing LSPDFR alone is staggering - the time that we've spent on it is measured not in days, weeks or months, but years. Likewise, the effort required to keep our website online is vastly underestimated - in the past month we've served around 30 terabytes of download traffic alone, and have done all of this despite persistent, targeted denial of service and hacking attacks against us. To put this in context, if you were to serve 30 terabytes of data through Amazon Web Services, it'd cost you $3,000 a month - and that's just one month of download traffic.
Why do we do this? Because it's fun. We love developing our community, we love developing our mod, and we love that other people - complete strangers, from all over the world, from countries you've probably never heard of, from all walks of life... we love that they love LSPDFR. Our community has achieved incredible things: we've created an entire gaming phenomenon and we've developed things that nobody ever thought would be possible. Our members have done more than simply play games or make mods: we've fought hand-in-hand against corporate giants (and won), we've transformed peoples' entire lives by sparking new careers and we've been covered everywhere from massive YouTube channels to mainstream media publications. Heck, we've even triggered out of touch government ministers in Australia.
That's not the whole story, though. Sometimes we are the story. Sometimes we make mistakes. We've had catastrophes, like the time where we had a hyped countdown on the website only to reveal a private testing version of LCPDFR that nobody could access. Our first ever livestream had to be rescued by Steve and Jeff after it started with Prophet driving a train around Los Santos and infamously stating "this is not the preview for LSPDFR 0.3" while our community manager could do nothing but watch helplessly after being accidentally disconnected. We've messed up releases, we've announced things too quickly, and sometimes we've not announced things at all.
Yet, despite all of this. Nine years later, we're still here. We're still making mods, we're still developing this community, and we've stuck true to our principles the entire time:
Our community is open to all.
We treat members equally regardless of their status.
Everything is completely free of charge, with no catches.
Why? It's not about fame, it's not about money, it's not about status. It's about love. We love LCPDFR, we love LSPDFR, and we love our community. We don't think that modding should be hidden in private Discord servers. We don't think that modding should be something people pay for. We don't think that modding should be an ego boost.
We just think that modding should be fun. It should be open, and it should be free. That's what we stand for, and that's what we do.
How you can get involved
Last year, we opened up applications to join our Community Team for the first time. This resulted in a couple of new faces joining our moderation team and upon reflection, we think it's a good change in approach from previously handpicking staff members ourselves. We've decided to open these applications again, and would invite anyone who is interested in volunteering some of their free time to moderating our community to apply by following the link below. Our volunteer Community Moderators are a vital part of everything that we do, and it wouldn't be possible to maintain the community without them.
To find out more and to submit an application, please visit: http://lcpd.fr/staffapp